Public and international backlash against the HDP arrests continue

John Kirby responding to the recent development in Turkey

After the arrests of Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, leaders of the pro-Kurdish HDP, public protests continue.

While the initial backlash was not as severe as it was expected to be, partly due to the lack of organization caused by the ban on social media and messaging apps, protests of varying size are reported to have taken place in Izmir, Istanbul, Tunceli, Adana, Corlu, Bodrum, Diyarbakir and Antalya. In various cities in the South-East, such as Hakkari, shops owners refused to open; but were eventually convinced by the police to serve their customers.

All of the protests faced immediate response by the police, while more than a hundred protesters are reported to have been detained. Whether that number is accurate or not is highly debatable, as the protests in Izmir alone resulted in 55 detainees.

At least one armed clash in the capital, Ankara, has been confirmed. 20 people of unknown affiliations attacked the police under the cover of a sound grenade in the Altindag district, all were pacified and detained.

International reaction against the HDP arrests also continue. Swedish Minister of Foreign Relations, Margot Wallstöm, said that she hoped the HDP detainees would be released, and that it was necessary for peace in the area that Turkey re-enters peace talks with PKK. The spokesperson for US Department of State, John Kirby said that they were deeply concerned about the developments related to HDP arrests and the internet ban; but Turkey’s NATO membership was not in question. Kirby also condemned the recent Diyarbakir bombing, and called on PKK to stop their attacks (which he dubbed brutal and senseless) against Turkey.

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